The Castle of Otranto: A Gothic Story

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Oxford University Press, 1996 - Gothic revival (Literature) - 125 pages
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First published pseudonymously in 1764, The Castle of Otranto purported to be a translation of an Italian story of the time of the crusades. In it Walpole attempted, as he declared in the Preface to the second edition, 'to blend the two kinds of romance: the ancient and the modern'. He gives us a series of catastrophes, ghostly interventions, revelations of identity, and exciting contests. Crammed with invention, entertainment, terror, and pathos, the novel was an immediate success and Walpole's own favourite among his numerous works. His friend, the poet Thomas Gray, wrote that he and his family, having read Otranto, were now 'afraid to go to bed o' nights'. The novel is here reprinted from the text of 1798, the last that Walpole himself prepared for press.

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Contents

Preface to the First Edition
5
Sonnet to the Right Honourable Lady Mary Coke 1
17
Explanatory Notes
116
Copyright

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About the author (1996)

Horace Walpole was born in London on September 24, 1717 and educated at Eton College and Kings College, Cambridge. Upon his return from college, Walpole was elected to Parliament and served until 1768. He was the youngest son of British Prime Minister, Robert Walpole. He was known as The Earl of Orford. Walpole opened a private press that published his own works and that of his friends. He is well known for his Gothic romance novel, The Castle of Otranto. Horace Walpole died in London on March 2, 1797, after which his title became extinct since he never married or had children.

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